Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Blues, Whacked Schedules and Media -- oh my!

I've been trying to find things other than video games for Robert to do lately. I know that radical unschooling is supposed to be to let the child choose any thing that strikes his curiosity but I have a feeling that lots of homeschooling/unschooling families don't have so much media access in their house.

Robert seems constantly interested in World of Warcraft, Xbox 360 games, or the games on my laptop. Their are many online games he likes, too. Go Diego Go, Webkinz -- sometimes even Build-a-Bear. Even if I insist on an educational game, he finds a way to play a game on the computer, or otherwise. 

"Mom, Poptroptica has strategy games in it. I have to use my mind to play the game."
"Mom, let's play Monopoly and I'll be the banker. That's math." (I'm sorry to say this but I am getting a little tired of playing games. At least with computer/video games I can feign ignorance.)

He loves watching (and will watch for HOURS straight) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Kirby, SonicX, Chaotic, YuGiOh, Winx Club, Tom and Jerry -- and sometimes Zaboombafoo on a good day. (At least it is scientific, sort-of.)

He also likes to watch Eye Witness videos. (Human Body, Life, Ponds and Rivers, Reptiles, Amphibians, Volcanoes ... ) These I like.

We've canceled cable. Now he can only watch on Saturday Morning Cartoons, which is maybe as it should be. I remember as a kid Saturday morning being a special fun time to watch cartoons that we couldn't get any other time. 

Last week was a snow week and our schedule was all messed up.  Also Aubrey was sick so we were house bound. The week before that was Paul's vacation and my grandmother died, so life was hectic and non-productive at the same time. 

We've had a rather exhausting time of it actually.

It is a Sunday today, so I'd really like to get back on our regular schedule this week -- but, oh wait (head smack) -- it's Christmas this week.  And Aubrey is out of school for two and a half weeks. And next week is New Years .... 

The stability of a schedule will be non-existent for this whole month! I don't know if I can take that.

The house is trashed already.

The kids have been playing on the computer for days, and I don't know how to get them off without having a fun back up plan. "Everybody off the computer, it's time to clean the living room and kitchen!" is not going to cut it.

There is no safe (read clean) place to be in our home right now -- causing all sorts of angst with all the members of our family. Paul asked me this morning before heading off to work:

"I need your help. The house is beginning to overwhelm me again. I just tried to make some toast and I had to move seven dishes out of the way to find the toaster. Could you please have the kids help you get the living room and kitchen straightened up?"

And Aubrey doesn't want to sleep in her room anymore because it is so messy.


I don't have tons of energy right now. And I'm not sure why.

I speculated this a few weeks ago.

I wondered if maybe I didn't have that trendy disease SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), but layered circumstances that added up to something similar anyway.  

In the winter time, I like to take it easy: drink hot liquids, use wool sweaters and quilts, knit caps and books by the fireplace or under the feather blanket in bed watching a movie. I draw inward, as our ancestors did, bringing my work inside and quitting the fields after the harvests were done. 

I also know about myself that if my surroundings are chaotic and cluttered, I feel that way inside.  I get all sketchy and have anxiety "things". My irritation rises and I'm snippy with people and feel easily overwhelmed. Because I am a poor housekeeper, I unfortunately struggle with this frequently.

And then there is the fatigue generated from the depression that comes from being tired. If that makes any sense. Because I'm stressed about the house being messy, I get fatigued and the fatigue generates a mild depression and then I just want to sleep -- making a much larger mess in the kitchen.

SO. Acknowledging that these layers exist for me, I wondered if it might be a good idea to plan that this would happen next winter and instead of having a Spring cleaning, have a Pre-Samhain cleaning.  If I can get my ducks in a row, even during the month of November-say (after Samhain), I could have a clean and organized home before the winter hibernation takes place. 

Theoretically, this would eliminate my stress-fatigue-depression-blues during each winter.

But what do I do about this winter? It's already started, and the house is already undefinable. And I'm already mildly depressed about that.  And already tired. 


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lost Page Elements

In an attempt to perk up my blog, I lost a few of my page elements. If you had a link on my page, and don't anymore, please let me know so I can fix it!

I'm not actually sold on this layout. It is difficult to read some of the font. Hmm.
Back to the drawing board, I guess.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I am the winner I always knew I was

I finished the rough draft of my novel yesterday! Whew, what a ride. I have so many things to catch up on that I have neglected during the bout of insanity. Who writes a novel in thirty days? (said with derision) Nano'ers do, that's who.

This blog will be something that I will catch up on, for one thing.

Joey is in the dining room building a castle with legos and is discouraged about the time it is taking. I hear moans and sighs drifting to my office. (which is in huge disarray)

I have Aubrey in a public charter Montessori school now (the one that Robert/Joey is on the waiting list for -- still number 11) and so I thought that since our family has no Montessori experience at all, it would be beneficial (not to mention, kind) to start adopting some of the principles in our day. 

We are starting with a two hour block from 10-12 on Mondays through Thursdays (not Fridays 'cuz swimming cuts into it) of "work time". Joey can put on the daily work list anything he chooses (today it was legos and shredding paper) and I add math and writing, dressing and brushing teeth. I have given up on bathing and brushing hair.

I don't care if it is five minutes each of math and writing; the only reason it is on the list is because Aubrey came home saying that they do that every day.

I have a 2nd grader workbook I picked up at Office Depot that has math worksheets in it and I'll have him write a paragraph (that's a loose title) in a "journal".   That's it.  Montessori Un-Schooling.  ;)

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Slow Morning

Our friend is here to hang out with us today. His mama is in the hospital undergoing about 31 hours of labor so far. My poor friend. Last I heard, about two hours ago, she was still only at 6 cms.

The boys are playing card games, board games and now finally video games.

Aubrey is at her last day of Meadowlark Elementary today, on Monday she'll take a tour for our charter Montessori school and quite possibly will start there within the next few days. Sigh. I was really looking forward to her staying home with me for home-schooling.

Despite her need for quiet, alone time every day (which I'm starting to believe is why she has insomnia: that's when she gets her quiet, alone time!), Aubrey is quite the social creature. She does like people and easily makes friends.

While I believe she can get enough socialization with our lifestyle -- SpiralScouts, our local home-schooling social group, our field trip group, just friends we hang out with regularly, open gyms at our favorite gymnastics place, etc -- going to a more traditional school, even though it is alternative, may be more of the interaction she wants and needs. And that I'm all for -- helping her get her needs and wants fulfilled.

I'm concerned about illness. I'm on the mend myself, little to no sore throat though still a tad tired. However, both Robert and Paul woke this morning with a sore throat. Oh no. Joey just got over being sick, not again. :( How unfair for him.

I'd really like to get Aubrey's room started on. It is way dis-organized and messy and needs to be thoroughly cleaned out. I believe she is going to actually de-clutter this time. She's been really into American Girl stuff in the last week or two. She said she'd like to get ride of everything and have only American Girl stuff in her room.

Now, American Girl stuff is really expensive, but maybe Santa Claus will bring her something.

We make our gifts for each other for Solstice. Or handmade gifts that we buy from local artisans. We have a great Holiday Market here in Eugene, Oregon.

And this year we are considering (though funds are too low right now to RESPONSIBLY make this decision) to buy one family present for Christmas instead of gifts for each other. And that one family present everyone wants this year is a hot tub. Ouch. That's a spendy present.

I should be writing my nano words now. I need 1,667 to stay on track today. Or something close to that.

I'M WRITING A NOVEL!!!!!!!!! Just wanted to say that again. :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Still sick. Paul has the kids. They are playing in the park and took the dog for a walk.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I never posted our trip to the Pumpkin Patch!

Zany Zoo

I'm up to 14K words for nanowrimo, so I feel comfortable taking my bored kids to Zany Zoo. They have a petting zoo on the weekends and I've wanted to take them to this for ... eight months or so.

It's rainy and blah outside, and I don't want to straighten the dining room and coffee tables, nor picking up the back patio, so I'm off to petting zoo adventure! Pictures to follow upon my return.

Additional note:  I'm so sorry for not keeping up on my posts. Maybe a schedule of sorts would work?  (snort. me and my lists.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Flying at Joshua Radin and Missy Higgins concert

I'm sitting in the concert hall surrounded by the twenty something (and much younger) crowd. I'm sitting on the side - if I considered what I looked from the outside I might be concerned about my wallflower appearance. But I'm enjoying people watching.

The guy at the tshirt/cd merchant table is cute and it looks like he's checking me out but I'm too far away to tell. The din of voices is getting louder and the room is filling up. It's the kind of concert I hate -- where you have to stand up the whole three hours -- through both sets. Thankfully this small hall has a weird trait of one long wooden bench around the perimeter of the room. And I'm sitting on it.

It may cut down on my viewing pleasure and I won't be able to reach out and touch Joshua Radin or Missy Higgins -- but I can stand the disappointment. I'm not a groupie, I just enjoy local live music.

Several people sit next to me but then decide, for whatever reason, to get up and leave. I wonder what, if anything, that says about me. Perhaps they're groupies.

I feel, decidedly, one of the oldest people in the room. Did I mention the noise level is getting louder? And that this concert will end well past my bedtime? And that I suffered a whole night of insomnia last night to boot?

I felt inexplicitly like weeping during Joshua's performance. His soulful voice and yearning touched me and woke a passion in me. Awaken.

My mama talons flared and I wanted to kill the people talking during his performance. To sit naked to the bone in front of 50, 200 or 5000 people and bleed with your words -- open and vulnerable -- deserves more respect than idle conversations barely lower than a whisper or cell phones open to texting.

The courage to do what any musician does is unmistakable and heart-wrenching and I so want to have just a smidgeon of that for my very own.

I love a man and his acoustic guitar. I melt.

Listening to Missy Higgins, I am shamed. There is no way I can ever create something as splitting-open as she can. Her voice is dynamic and alive and climbs the known spectrums. Her sound is unique and her voice breathy and exotic.

How can my voice compare? Will I ever write anything that will carry a person's soul on currents of awareness and on quests for betterment? For Missy's songs do ...

But by the third song in her set, I am carried on those same currents I lamented I would never carry anyone on. The song is uplifting of spirit and my eyes close and I'm transported by the music of her muse.

I am in awe and admiration by Missy's multiple talents. She sings, plays piano and guitar, and even owns an awesome accent that pulls me to red rocks and Aborigines. She's kind-of a cross between Cranberries and Colbie Calliet, but infinitely cooler. Fathoms.

I'm always in awe when an artist takes raw materials, imaginings, notes, sounds, clay, paint -- and turns it into something living and breathing, soulful and creative. Like, how does she hear the notes in her head and make them come through her fingers -- into the wholeness of a song? How is that even possible? Yet tonight I am watching that happen.

This music is so cool it makes me believe that anything is possible. What I love about good live music is the passion and playfulness and the down-to-earth-ness. Musicians are so real. And rare, I believe. I know that's weird to say when there are so many of them around, but when I think of the intensity that goes into writing (my own passion), and then the double and triple magic of adding the mastery of an instrument -- or three -- and then the courage to perform it, I find it truly chilling. It gives me hope in humankind and makes me want to continue incarnating into this lowly human form over and over again.

Yes, we are lowly humans, unless we can surround ourselves with one of those rare musicians that can fly.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Joey, sometimes called Robert, is sick today.

I'm not homeschooling today. Joey is sick. Fever, sore throat, headache, and he puked this morning, too. I'm so lucky that my empty popcorn bowl was sitting on the floor by the couch that Joey was laying down on. Whew!

We had swimming and open gym at the gymnastics place planned for the day. Also, picking up Evan and Celeste from school. (I'll still have to do that. I think I'll set my alarm on my cell phone in order to remind me. This is just the sort of day that I'd forget to pick them up.)

I have a presentation I want to go to this evening. EVEN is presenting on alternative meals and recipes for Thanksgiving. The babysitter never returned my call about sitting tonight, so I hope that Paul will be home in time. Also, most babysitters (at least teenagers) wouldn't want to watch ill children that aren't related to them. :) Fair enough. Also, Joey probably wouldn't like it either.

I think I'll take the extra time to write on my manuscript. Well. Not extra time, really. I was planning on writing while Joey was at Bounce. Since he won't be going, I'll have to sneak it in while he's otherwise engaged with cartoons or xbox.

Over and out.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Global Gathering

Today we gathered for our first Global Gathering. We were focusing on India this month.  My friend had lived in India for two years when her son was an infant (was actually born there) and she brought a lot of cool books, statues, diyas, rituals and food from India.

She actually had the kids do part of the cooking.

Ginger showed us a lighting of a diya.  These would be lit, with prayers being said, on Dawali (pronounced Dah-vah-lee). "The Festival of Lights" is a Hindu holiday.

The kids all brought a piece of Indian trivia (Joey talked about snakes in India -- the most venomous, of course) and we ate Indian food, listened to Indian music and dressed in Indian clothes.

It was fun, educational and interesting.  Now, if only Joey will actually participate more next time.  (We'll be doing Russia next month.)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Food Confrontation

Just had a short confrontation with my housemate.  He was making sandwiches this morning for a lunch he was taking out and discovered that the pastrami that he bought a couple days ago was missing.

Neither Paul nor I used it.  I know that Aubrey made dinner last night and used some ham, but no pastrami.  I thought.

"Does anyone know what happened to the pastrami that was in here?"

"I don't," I said, but I knew that Aubrey had used some meat.

"Aubrey, last night did you use the pastrami to cook with?"

She turned from the computer.

"No." She looked off, thinking. "But Maggie used it to make Joey a sandwich yesterday."

Ah.  The babysitter.  

Steve raised his voice.

"Well, we need to do something about this."  He waved the remaining bag of deli meat in front of him. "I just bought this using my last $10, expecting that their would be some when I needed it and now it's gone!"

"Steve," I shook my head.  This is number three on the food confrontations. "We've asked you to put your name on it. If you don't want us using it, put your name on it."

He rubbed his face vigorously with his hands.

"Sorry." But I sort-of wasn't.

"Ok. I'll just start doing that," he said.

We turned away. Him to finish sandwich-making and me to make the coffee.

While he was upstairs I emptied the dishwasher, re-filled it, started it and wiped down the counters, throwing away trash as I went around the kitchen.

Later he asks about a paper cup he'd set on the counter.

I close my eyes and drop my shoulders forward with exasperation. I look him in the eye.

"I thought it was trash."

He fished it out and mumbled and chuckled (though not jovially, more like hysterically) about "weird energy" in the kitchen this morning.

"It's just that there's stuff all over the counters for days and I set one thing down and it gets thrown away."

Later again, Paul asks him what kind of pastrami it was. He wants to replace it. (I don't think we should have to, personally.) 

"Oh. Just Winco stuff.  You don't have to. It was just a couple dollars."

"I don't mind. My kid ate it. I'll replace it. But I do think you should put your name on it."

"Well, I was thinking maybe I could have a drawer in the fridge that was just mine." (Brilliant idea. One I thought of last month and offered to him -- which he turned down.)

"Great," Paul said.

Then Steve hugged us good-bye.


I'm a little irritated.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008



Aubrey's home from school today. We're at Bounce. She had an emotional morning, born also from lack of sleep last night. She stayed up too late.

I want Paul to be a part of this discussion. I'm not sure what to do with Aubrey's school situation. She's particulary upset about not having time with family.

  • stay at MK until end of term and work hard at home to have alone time and one-on-one time with her (really nurturing her)
  • start home-schooling her next week
  • start tomorrow :)

My conundrum is: having her stick to something that she agreed to do (can't just quit when the going gets tough) and meeting her needs. I'm definitely not sold on traditional schooling so I hate the idea of forcing her to 'go to school' -- but, if she gets bored or lonely at home, will she want to ubruptly go back to public school? She's only been doing it for one month.

Missing Paul.

I'd like to pick on of their interests and focus on it for the week. Not exclusively, still following their lead, but to find resources to cater to those interests.

Making potions? Go to chemistry labs, Science Factory.

Snakes? Alvord Farm, Herpetological Society 'tours'.

Filled out Montessori application for Aubrey, she's number two on the waiting list. She can go to school with Celeste.

Whirlwind Days


Joey helped me clean the downstairs bathrooms.

We watched a Bill Nye the Science Guy dvd on Reptiles and an Eye Witness dvd on Volcanos. I read a picture book about a little boy that was a vegetarian.

We were running a bit late to meet up with some other homeschoolers and Joey hurried me up, telling me that we needed to get there on time so we didn't let the other people down. :) My words sink in.

We hiked at Ridgeline Trail with Ginger and Zeal. Afterwards Zeal and Joey sat and looked at Joey's new books: "Venom" and "Mythical Monsters."

Went grocery shopping (and Joey was such a good helper), picked up Evan and Celeste and brought them to our house.

Aubrey had a playdate with Olivia after school and Lisa (Olivia's mom) dropped Aubrey off and then Celeste and Aubrey played upstairs in their clubhouse (closet) while Evan and Joey played Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles xbox 360 game.

I wrote an essay for my writer's group and started picking up my office.

Dropped the all the kids at Alyse's (Evan and Celeste's mom) while I went to group, and got the kids in bed by 9:30p.m.


  • Zoned: xbox, reading "Venom" to Joey
  • Bounce Gymnastics with Joey / Aubrey went to Unity School
  • Allergy shot for me
  • picked up Evan and Celeste from school and dropped them home
  • dropped off Joey at Unity School
  • went to my counseling appointment
  • picked up the kiddos
  • Taco Bell for dinner (blech)
  • went to Deanna and Troy's to help them move
  • crashed in bed

Fern's Edge Goat Dairy Farm and "What Excitable Means"

10-6-2008 --

Went to Fern's Edge Goat Dairy Farm today. Thirsty. Too hot, too long, irritated. Didn't eat beforehand.

Joey was *excitable* when we got home. Maggie babysat and she told me horror stories. He bit her. Among other things. But that was the worse.

*Excitable* means: He chased the dog through the house and had to be sent outside so the girls could do their homework in some peace. He played with water, broke my birdbath and hurriedly came in bereft that he'd broken it. Sigh. Tomorrow will be better.

Aubrey's going over to Olivia's house after school tomorrow; Joey and I are going on a hike. I also need him home to clean with me.

Pictures of the farm soon: check back!

Philip Foster Farm

10-3-2008 --

Went to Philip foster Farm today in Estacada, Oregon. Four hours of driving -- blah. Joey did very well though. We listened to the end of a Trixie Belden book on tape and he watched a couple Eye Witness videos on "Life" and "Pond and River" and "Amphibians."

He like most of the activities. Log cabin building, sharpening stone wheel, washing laundry, riding a hay bale, sawing a slice of wood, etc. Anything hands on. he didn't care for looking through the house (though I couldn't tell during the walk (run) through -- he told me afterwards) and he didn't like the spinner. The spinster wouldn't let Joey touch anything -- which he disliked.

We played checkers in the country store next to the fire (we stayed warm all day 'cuz of the constant fires that were lit around the farm), he held a rabbit and saw how traps worked.

He really had a good time. It would've been more fun for him if he had a buddy with him, I think. He saw lots of kids everywhere and even engaged with some of them. We saw Zeal (a friend) but Joey didn't stand around jabbering to him. I guess there was exploring to do and activities to be done.

It rained most of the time we were there but we were prepared with umbrellas and boots.
Fishy Joey didn't mind it at all! I mostly don't like getting my head wet. If I have a hat on, most times I don't even mind the raindrops on my glasses.

Good day. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A gentle thanksgiving

I'm seriously considering going vegan.

Eugene Vegetarian Education Network ( holds monthly meetings on the first Monday of the month. I went to October’s EVEN meeting where Wayne Geiger talked about Lighthouse Farm Animal Sanctuary ( and since then I’ve been doing some of my own research, yielding pretty unsettling results.

I’ve always prided myself on eating organic foods and no red meat, by which I mean cows. Unfortunately, I recently discovered that pork is considered ‘red’, too. (I do love my sausage.) And the poultry I buy is organic and free-range only; the fish wild, not farm-raised. But pride goeth before the fall, they say.

You see, I reminded myself at the EVEN meeting that when I eat out , the meat is not organic or free-range. My chicken tikka masala at Evergreen’s Indian Restaurant comes from chickens housed in battery cages only a half a square foot large. Some of them die from extreme temperatures or succumb to severe hunger and thirst during transport. They are debeaked and put through pain and misery just so I can eat a chicken ceasar salad or a chicken and black bean burrito from Laughing Planet.

When we prepare for our annual Thanksgiving dinner, we never buy a turkey because my husband's boss buys them for everyone in the company. Giant Butterballs. And I eat it. The dark meat. I cut up the gizzards to make delicious stuffing with pork sausage for added flavor.

But the pigs I eat can’t turn around in their breeding pens, or even sit down. They go through massive mental trauma, as evidenced by their gnawing at the metal bars they are imprisoned in. And the turkeys. Well, that’s just horrific.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, did an undercover investigation of the Butterball company and this is what they reported:

Butterball turkeys are killed using a process that involves hanging live birds by their legs, shocking them in an electrified bath of water so that they become paralyzed (though they still feel pain), slitting their throats, and then running them through a tank of scalding-hot water for defeathering. (

This week I listened to a talk by Will Tuttle, author of “World Peace Diet”, which said that within three weeks your taste buds could completely change. I've had experiences where my own tastes have changed and I’ve not liked things I previously had eaten. You know, like, Snickers bars and Kool-aid. The sugar content now is revoltingly high and I can't stomach it.

Though, I have to say that sugar continues to be an embarrassing vice. I can eat whole vegan dark chocolate bars in one sitting and handfuls of vegetarian candy at a time. Nothing I'm proud of and proof that if I do make the switch, my junk food slip-ups can (who am I kidding? will) continue. But maybe I can train my taste buds to do without sausage and bacon. Wouldn’t that help create a more peaceful planet? Wouldn’t I be contributing to the solution of global warming rather than the cause of it? After all, animals (especially cows) raised in factory farms are one of the main causes of greenhouse gasses.

I'm going to talk with my husband about my idea of our family pledging veganism for three weeks, and then seeing what happens. Maybe after three weeks and a complete taste bud overhaul, we will be able to shift to a more gentle diet.

And even if none of the rest of my family do it, I may very well continue on my own quest for the end of animal cruelty. I can at least do my part by not eating them myself. One can make a difference.

Be gentle ( this Thanksgiving, my friends.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

October Busyz

Ok.  So October is going to have the 'busyz'.  Last Monday we went to Bounce Gymnastics for their home-school open gym. Joey got to ride the harness, swinging like Superman! He didn't want to get on it at first -- (snort) But THEN we couldn't get him out of it.

Tuesday we went to the library and cleaned out their selection of Garfield comic books and several Bill Nye the Science Guy DVD's.  Among other things.

Wednesday was Mad Dash Day to run last minute errands before Paul and Aubrey took off for Las Vegas. And today is Thursday in which I: made a submissions book
and finished up a bunch of long-put-off phone calls and schedule adjustments.  (I still haven't quite finished that task. Sigh.) 

We ran errands after that for about three hours, culminating in me hurriedly dropping off Joey with Steve (my housemate) and running to the Willamette Writers meeting with a bowl of chicken and mug of soup balanced in my van ... for slurping at stop lights, of course.

And now I need to charge my phone (bought new charger today because Paul took mine to Vegas) and read up on how to work my new camera (bought new camera today because Paul took mine to Vegas) so I can use it tomorrow on our field trip to Philip Foster Farm. But more on that later.  Joey has crawled out of bed once again and I need to go put him back.

Coming soon:  field trip entry from Philip Foster Farm, a goat dairy farm planned for Monday, a couple hiking trips, more garden days and gymnastics and swimming days and also our first "Global Gathering" event, featuring India.

Friday, September 26, 2008


I haven't wanted to post anything for a couple weeks, because our home-schooling is, well, weird. I need to learn how to walk my talk. Or at least believe what I tell others.

I'm un-schooling Joey.  Maybe de-schooling is a better word for it. He's playing xbox again right now.  It feels like we are slacking off. But I really do believe that Joey needs this right now. Truly I do. So why do I cave and feel like a truant loser?

We shopped all day for Aubrey's birthday party. (I left a bag at the dollar tree store.  Crap.)

Hubby's home to watch the presidential debates.  Gotta Go.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Escaping the "artist's way"

I'm sitting at my local coffee shop taking a break from home life to write. My husband magnanimously offered that I go, without having me to ask for it. He loves me. He loves me.

His only request was that I was home in time to help him put the children to bed. Sigh. (HeeHee.)

Never mind, this decaf americana more than makes up for it. Not hearing my loving and excited children singing early Christmas carols with made up choruses in the kitchen while my head pounds more than makes up for having to go back and tuck them in.

In fact, what joy. I get to come here, after being with Joey for most of the day, have piece and quiet and listen to the fountain splash water next to me and write - which I love to do - and then I get the pleasure of tucking in my lovies. But not have to Put Them To Bed. (HeeHee.)

I am meeting Ginger tomorrow to go over our Artist's Way chapter and do our check-in. I haven't been doing the morning pages (sigh) and I haven't done any of the tasks. This time. I have done them (quite a few of them) before when I read the book, but I feel this is cheating to not do them again. After all, I am in a different place this time. I'm a different person. Evolved to a new space. So I shall go over them again and do at least one. Oh. Also, I haven't done the artist's date. Unless I count this. I am alone. I'm writing. I don't think that is supposed to count. I'm supposed to be filling up the well, not depleting it by creating. Hmm.

I do understand this. And agree with it. But maybe not in this sense. Not in the sense of me escaping my house (and the noise that goes with it ... and the laundry that needs to be folded) and writing to purge and get my feelings and emotions out. Though I haven't actually done that. I think that this should be counted as an emergency artist date. :) I like that. So I'm counting it.

And now, to book.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Eugene Celebration Parade

Our Spiralscouts circle  walked in the parade yesterday.  These photos are of us getting ready. We all dressed up to represent an element.  In the actual parade, we waved, sang and did spiral dances.  I also carried Joey a lot because the running to catch up when we lagged behind the entry in front of us, and the running he did with the other children made him to tired to walk. Hmpf. You can see Fire and Earth easily represented.  Joey is a sea snake for Water and those in white are Spirit and Air.


On September 11th, Joey and I bicycled to "Grassroots Garden" and volunteered some time there.  Grassroots grows most all the produce for "Food for Lane County," an organization that helps hungry people in our community get food.  Joey picked an ear of corn, wheel-barrowed the lot of them to be weighed, and helped shuck them and then dumped the husks in a compost pile. 

He didn't get too involved in the day, however, because he had a dreadful bike accident on the way and scraped up his knee ferociously.  He was also extremely fearful of the 'bees' that were at the garden and piteously asked to go home every ten minutes.  We didn't though, because I wanted him to honor commitments.  Or at least honor mine.  :)  I committed to being there, so I needed him to stay there. The volunteers all stayed for a yummy freshly harvested lunch and then we biked home -- the trooper.

The next day, Joey and I went on a field trip with some other home-schoolers.  The Oregon Gardens in Silverton, Oregon was our second 'garden' adventure that week.  Joey didn't enjoy some of the stations, well, actually he just refused to do many of the stations and just played around in the gardens.  He looked for frogs and put his hands in all the water features despite the posted signs and my grumbling about it. He rested, he played with worms, and ran around a bunch.
Here he is blowing soap bubbles through a piece of wood.

Catch Up

First, let me apologize for not writing in my blog for a long while.  I've started this home-school adventure and, to be honest, I'm swimming a bit here.  We don't have a regular schedule (though we don't need to, per se) and often when I suggest doing something (like geography or writing in his journal or blog), he refuses.  ???  So then I'm stymied.  I don't believe in pushing him to something in a punitive way and I don't want to get into any power struggles with him.  That just brings us both down to a level I don't care to function at.

So let me show you what we have been doing this month so far.

On September 4th, Our whole family went to Cleavox Lake at Honeyman State Park on the coast and met up with some friends.  This was an annual "Not Back to School Day" in honor of the thrill and excitement traditionally schooled kids feel when going back to school in the Fall. So a "Not" Back to School tradition was started for the home-schooled kids.  

It was a beautiful place on a beautiful day.  My husband was actually there (we don't often get invited to be family oriented things on his days off, so this was a neat treat.)  And we took Aubrey with us, too; she went back to public school the next day.

My mother-in-law, Anna, asked Joey what he learned that day.  He said, "I didn't learn anything.  I just went to the coast."

I disagree.  He learned lots.  He ran in the sun and dug tunnels that flowed water into a big hole.  He didn't bother his sister but once.  He played with a friend for over an hour with only one altercation.

When I asked him to come out of the water, (so I could talk to him about it) he walked in deeper and stood with his head bowed, just taking a moment and then he was fine and the boys were playing together soon after that.

He played without his sister almost the entire time.  They walked up an entire huge sad dune and ran down it, got fantastically dripping wet and Joey got to walk to the van in a dry sweatshirt and huge quilt wrapped around him.  He had a laugh at that.

***Then I was sick for a few days and we did nothing more than a few math games and puzzles.  And we read together a lot.  In bed.  Under the covers.***

This post is a tad long so I'll continue it in the next one.  Please read on!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Grandparents Day

I got my dad and step-mom to visit today (FINALLY!  -- I haven't seen them for almost two years and they only live 45 minutes away!) ...

And the kids watched a Harry Potter movie the whole time.  !!!

Pretty sad if you think about it.  

Happy Grandparents Day, Dad and Alice!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Self Doubt and Tyrant Shadows

I've been homeschooling/unschooling for around three weeks now and so far it feels like a dismal failure.  The things Paul was afraid of happening are happening.  Namely, that when I instruct (or even suggest, on my non-imperial days) the kids to do something, they revolt.  Sometimes they feign deafness or ignorance.  Other times they blatantly refuse.  Or burst into tears and throw a tantrum because I've asked them to do something.

At times like these I feel resolve stealing over me to make them do what I want them to.  They must sit and blog, they must sit and do math games, they must go to the park and play, they must do their chores.  And all right when I tell them, too!

And then I remember Alfie Kohn, and Rudolf Driekers and know that that is not the way I want to parent.  Let alone teach.  That's part of the reason I took them out of traditional school in the first place, so they could be more autonomous about their learning and be more in control.

I read something yesterday (from John Holt?) that said we needed to 'trust our children' to do what is right for them and for their learning.  That if we follow their lead, we will see that they will go where they need to go.  I see the glamour of this, and also the sensibility.  I want to believe, and I do, yet in a day like this -- that reeks of instability -- I wonder.

What I want is for them to spontaneously just do educational and creative projects and honor and test their natural curiosity.  But right now they don't.  They'd rather play xbox or have me read to them all day.  (Well, that last one is probably ok, but moderation does seem to be called for.  One does need to get dressed occasionally and change the laundry and clean off the dining room table and make dinner and pick up dog poo outside.)

Right now they are playing a SpongeBob "typing" game, of which I approve, and earlier Aubrey and Joey made lunch for us.  Mac-n-cheese (supplying free range chicken for me because I have a gluten sensitivity) and smoothies.  Yum.  So some things are working ... there's just a whole lot of angst in-between the smooth bits.  Sigh.  Is this normal?  Am I on the right track?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

New Website!

I've worked hard to get a website up and running for internet promotional purposes.
Take a look and tell me if you think changes should be made for readibility, etc.  ("Gee, it would sound better if it were in first person ...")

Monday, August 11, 2008

"Stranger Danger" or "I Was Reminded"

I was reminded today of Joey's vulnerability.  Every day I see him grow a little more and let go with an appropriate amount of fear.  Well.  Maybe a little more than is normal.  I do.  I worry.

When the kids were littler (like 3 and 5), I'd frequently lump them together in my parenting. Same bedtime, same toys, letting them both alone to play while I did housework or took a shower.  I expected (without thinking it through) that he could cognitively, physically and emotionally be able to follow along with his older sister.

I was reminded more often than I cared to that Joey needed to be watched more.  Toys down the toilet, soap all over the floor, pushing his screens out the window -- followed by all his toys, books and bedding.  Thank Goddess not himself.

Perhaps this is cognitive and social delay, ADHD, or just personality differences between the two children -- because Aubrey never did any of this.  Or if she did, it was as a follower to him as ring leader.

But today I am reminded of the seriousness of whatever this 'spiritedness' is of Joey's.

We arrived at Tae Kwon Do class and parked behind the building.  Aubrey and I filled the parking meter.  She fished coins out of her silver purse, sequins the size of quarters sewn onto the fabric. 

"I'm going in," Joey said.  I looked to where he was standing.  Less than four feet away.

"No! We all walk together.  Wait for us," I said.  I turned back to the parking meter and Aubrey painstakingly looking through her bag for "silver ones."

"I just wanna peek around the corner."  He means the alley.  We have to walk down the alley to get to the front of the building on Willamette Street. He usually remembers to peek slowly around the corner before barreling into the alley-used-as-often-as-a-street.  I paused.

"OK.  Don't go farther than that pole."  And I pointed.  Did he see me?  I was looking at the pole.

I finished with Aubrey and the meter and turned to the pole.  Not there.  I didn't panic but quickened my pace to a trot.  Sometimes he hides behind the wall and "boos" around the corner, giggling.  I turned the corner.  Not there.

I glanced up the alley and saw him standing at the corner talking to someone.  My initial reaction was irritation.

"JOE!" I bellowed.  Then I noticed he is with a man; large and dressed a little dingy.  I quickened my pace. 

"Come here!"  What if he'd been kidnapped?! The man looked at me and I felt ashamed at my second reaction.  I don't want the man, if he's harmless, to think I've prejudged him.  Which, of course, I have.  

"You were supposed to wait for me back here."  I hoped this softened my prejudice to the man, at least to his ears.  It assuaged my guilt -- but only temporarily.  

I don't want my children to grow up thinking that street people, whether they are homeless or not, are dangerous.  I don't want my children thinking that all strangers are dangerous.  But how to tell the difference?  Even I, as an adult, come up with the wrong interpretations of someone's motives sometimes.  Or get a feeling about someone and have it be totally inaccurate later.  

Who am I to teach them about ... vibes?  Shouldn't they be left to decipher that themselves?  I don't want my prejudices to rub off on them -- not when I try so hard to not have them myself. I pride myself on not being racist or prejudiced in any way, but obviously that can't be true if I worry that just because some man is talking to my son that he wants to do him harm.  And that the only reason he didn't carry through with it was because I thwarted his plans by coming around the corner!

When I reached the corner, holding firmly to Joey's hand now, the amiable -- though dusty and patchworked -- man smiled and said, "I like that boy.  He's smart.  He's a good-lookin' kid."  He waved and walked off.

Before he did, I returned the smile and said, "Thank you."  If I take apart his statement, eeww.  I'm terrified.  "I like that boy ... he's good-lookin'"?!  All is well though.  I was here. Joey's safe.  This is what I'm telling myself, but what I say out-loud is different. 

When I turned the corner, I continued my nasty asides to Joey about not trusting him and having to now hold his hand ALL THE TIME.  Even as I did it I hated the sound of my voice.  I knew it was from fear that my voice goes evil like that, but how did Joey feel?  

Looked from his perspective the encounter might have been something like this:  bored of waiting, can't stand still too long -- it hurts to do that (or maybe creates panic or anxiety for him to be still -- thinking ADHD here), I'll just go to class, so excited about class, here I go, Mom and Aubrey are behind me, skipping through the sun, bare feet on concrete feels neat, 'oh hi nice smiling man that would never hurt me, how are you?' JOE!  uh oh, Mom's mad, why?, sadness, I never do anything right, she's always yelling at me.

I feel so completely ill-equipped to take this job of mom.  I hopelessly make things worse for my children, when I only want to protect them and guide them into compassionate, soulful human beings.  When I stop to think "They are compassionate, soulful human beings," I hold my breath with the crushing fear that I'm ruining it for them.  Ruining them for them.  I make it all worse.  

So who is the vulnerable one here?  Is it Joey, who is seven and trusts openly, and doesn't think it is wrong to try and walk home from a public school without telling anyone, just because he thought it was time to go home?  Or walked out of the bathroom and out of the school building during the middle of the day to wait for me to pick him up, when I never pick him up at that time, or on that side of the school.  He didn't tell anyone where he was going and he was lost for twenty minutes.  

(The principal called us after he was found.  When I questioned her about that she said, " ... if we called every time a child was missing and then turned up ten minutes later, we'd be on the phone a lot and scaring a lot of parents."  There was SO MUCH of this conversation that horrified me .. but that is another story.)

Or am I the vulnerable one?  Because I worry so much and feel guilty so much.  And feel like such a bad parent so much.  I know that 'no one's perfect' --

-- but it's always so astonishing when I'm not.  

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Blogs and Fins

Today I started a blog for Aubrey.  She'll use this for her grammar, writing, and keyboarding skills.  Also, it's loads of fun to blog!

Her and Joey have been taking swim lessons this past week (p.e.!!). 

Yeah!  I can do this homeschooling thing!  :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


This is the picture I took last year in September on their first day of school. I wonder what their picture will look this year.  Pajamas?  Sadness? Excitement? Relaxation?  Because I'm home-schooling this year.  EEK!

Admittedly, I have several ideas up my sleeve for content, I'm also nervous about making sure they learn enough to keep them on track for when they re-enter the alternative schools they are on the waiting lists for.  Also the alone time thing.  That's really scaring me.  I am finding creative ways to take those quiet moments for myself. I don't want my writing to suffer because of this choice.

I CAN have it all.

I know I'll be great on the reading, writing and science and PE and art.  

Reading:  We read together ALL the time, I'll take them to the library more often (once a week? or once a month?), and I'll have both of them read out loud to me every other day (everyday?). I'll also encourage Joey to read to himself when his confidence gains momentum.  He still says, without thinking, "I can't read." And I know he can.  And, of course, I'll have Aubrey read in her room once a day.  (She needs the alone time, too.)

Writing:  I am going to open a blog for each one of them to 'write' in.  I'm going to open email accounts for both of them.  And I'm going to instill 'letter writing' day at least twice a month.  I will join them in all these endeavors.  When they blog, I'll blog.  When they write a letter to a family member, I will too. Most of the time I will allow them the choice of emailing or handwriting a letter.  But I do want them to practice their penmanship.  That, I think, should be everyday.  How though?

Science: That's easy.  SpiralScouts
Also, the Science Factory and the Planetarium.

And then I have Homesource to flesh out the math or address other subjects that they each may enjoy.  Like, Aubrey wants to take a clay class and a chemistry class this term.

Socializing will be no problem.  We have friends that are home-schoolers (several, in fact). And the p.e. will not be a problem.  The home-schooling group I just joined has weekly park days and there is a gymnastics place that the kids like that has a home-school open gym.  Currently they are in tae kwon do, but want to take a break from that, and swimming.  (I'm remembering that HomeSource has free swimming classes.  I'll look into to that, too.)

Whew!  I've definitely got my work cut out for me.  I am learning to listen to their interests and involving them more in the search for information.  I want learning to be a fun and for their critical thinking and creativity and curiosity to be nurtured.  I hope I'm up to the task.

How do you home-school?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ant Busses

I just spent seven minutes squishing ants with a sponge in my kitchen.  Where did they come from?  I've lived here four years and have never seen an ant, much less a colony.  I mean, this is the first literal day I've seen them, too.  I wonder if they came on some fruit I bought at the store. Or my compost bucket.  Hmm.  I better check that and dump it.

Ants.  Well, if it becomes a problem, I at least know a good pest control guy I could call.


An additional arg has me in a bit of a strop today.  My van won't start.  I first noticed it at 4:30 this morning getting ready to drive Fernanda to the airport.  Whoops.  So we took Paul's car.

I asked my housemate to jump the van (I was going to say 'jump me' but realized that looked ALL SORTS of wrong) so I could run an errand and take the kids to a birthday party.  No luck. It's bone dead.  (Can I say that?  I know the original phrase is "bone dry" ... )  

Aubrey was really disappointed to miss the party at the park, so I suggested (or maybe it was her) that we take the bus.  Oh goody, an adventure.  But really, what's my problem?  I've been grousing about not using the van so much and biking more places and saving money on gas ($96.60 last time I filled up), so here is my opportunity.  Not to mention the impression it'll make on the children.  Kind of like a field trip.  And I'll need to get used to those if I'm homeschooling this year.  (Eeeep.  I keep finding little challenges with that fact ... now that I've officially made the decision and talked to the children about it.  Sigh.)

So, I'm off to the bus stop.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Babies are coming back!

My babies are coming back tonight!  (Well, they aren't babies anymore ... but they were in this picture!)  Hooray!!!  I can't wait to see them! (Ache, Ache, Ache)

More pictures later because I believe they will look TOTALLY different than when I left them in Massachusetts.

Time to finish last minute tasks before we leave for the airport.

Like maybe wash the van.  Eew.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Need Suggestions

Does anyone have any ideas for educational, fun activities to do with kids ages 7-10 during the year?

I've checked out Nearby Nature, Bounce, Homesource and The Science Factory.  Anything else?

I think I'm serious about this!  

My only concern is when to find time to write that novel in November.   

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

And Whispered I Love You

I fly home today. And leave my babies behind. This tears at me and feels so unbelievably foreign. They are staying with their grandmother for a month, which is good for them, but feels terrible to me. Most of the time. I watch my son sleep, breathing in and out, mouth open, wrapped in a blue comforter. Fernanda is making muffins in the kitchen.

Joey cried again last night at the prospect of me being gone. It’s the lullaby. Sigh. It started when Aubrey was a baby and I’d sing her to sleep. Some days she’d not fall asleep until I’d dregged the pool of songs I knew way, way back when. It was on such a night – or naptime, I forget which – that I stumbled upon the Beatles’ song “All My Lovin’.” I’ve kept it handy ever since, because I like it and, really, how many times can you sing “Hush Little Baby”? This last year Aubrey’s revived it and at nine years old, asks me to sing it to her most nights.

So I had this brilliant idea to record a cassette tape for each of them with my voice doing lullabys and child meditations, dubbed “dreaming stories” by Aubrey when she was two. I even found a recording of The Beatles singing “All My Lovin’” and recorded it – just so they know what they’re missing when I sing it.

I thought it would bring comfort at bedtime and soft smiles before slumber. Nope.
Everytime Joey hears it – he cries. Now, as I watch him roll over in his makeshift bed, I’m contemplating confenscating it. But that seems underhanded and likely to cause more grief. Even trauma perhaps. Like a well-meaning relative that sends all your husband’s clothes to Goodwill right after he dies so you won’t cry when you see them. Snort. As if. (This didn’t happen to me, by the way, but could you imagine?!)

So I leave the tape and walkman in the chair above his little head – if only so he can find a morose bit of comfort from it.

I woke early this morning, 5:30, and rested with my eye mask against the Eastern sun already shining through my window. For the prior three nights, either Aubrey or Joey or both slept with me in Fernanda’s bed. Last days of sleepovers before I go. A special treat because we don’t do this at home. But last night Joey wanted to sleep in the living room and Aubrey wanted to be alone.

So I was in the bed by my lonesome this morning at 5:30 thinking about Joey alone in the living room. About Joey waking up alone in the living room. About Joey feeling alone this whole month without me. After an hour of thinking what a horrible mother I was for traumatizing my children in this way, I pulled a blanket and pillow off my bed, drug them down the hall, and snuggled up next to him.

I laid there soaking up his baby-ness, even though he’s really seven. I moved my hand several times over the minutes making sure I wasn’t crushing him with my seventeen pound arm. Chest, then waist, now hip and leg. When he rolled over to his back, I nestled my hand on his shoulder and happily closed my eyes, content to be in the same bed with my little love – though my butt and left leg were off the futon pad.

I was reminded of some of Catherine Newman’s writings. She writes of the physical pain of being in love with her children and that’s what I was feeling. Bits of love pain slicing around inside my veins like miniature razor blades. All my insecurities of being Joey’s mom surfaced and dunked below the freezing, murky depths of my consciousness, and then surfaced again.

Joey turned his head towards me and puffed little morning breaths at me. I averted my own face just slightly. Fairly soon he rolled completely over onto his stomach and slid off the futon pad, his left forearm and left foot remaining. His aching freshness was both a delight and something that took the breath from my body.

Should I move him? No. He’d wake. He looked comfortable but I was no longer lying next to him. He was on one side of the twin-sized pad and I was on the other. I could crawl onto it, and my screaming hip would prefer that, but what if he woke up and saw me snoozing on his bed and him off? Like I’d pushed him over in the night, hogging the softness to myself.

But I didn’t want to keep lying here if I wasn’t snuggling with Joey this last ime. I could go and snuggle up to Aubrey the next room. My goodbye to her. But look at this elbow! Pale, with two faint bruises near the bony prominence. How can I leave this elbow? How can I walk out of this room and leave this elbow for three weeks? Even if it’s to walk into another room down the hall where another precious elbow with my same blood and DNA pulsing through it awaits my last snuggles? How can I leave this elbow? I’m distruaght. It looks so fragile lying there, bereft.

And then I remember that I am the one that is bereft, not this contentedly sleeping elbow attached to this contentedly sleeping boy.

He opened his eyes, sat up and saw me. I smiled and he climbed back on the bed and was asleep so fast again, I wonder if he really did see me.

I covered him, kissed his hair and whispered, “I love you.”

I always say it out loud whenever I check on the kids in the middle of the night. Like a talisman of sorts. A motherly shield, a token of love that I believe can be heard through their dreams. Can cure nightmares if they’ve begun and soften any stresses that they’ve carried into sleep.

I tiptoed out the room with my pillow and tucked in with Aubrey. She was more substantial, at nine, to spoon around and I didn’t worry about crushing her as much. When standing she already reaches my shoulders, almost.

Aubrey doesn’t move as much as Joey does when they’re sleeping. I might’ve been able to fall asleep again if I wanted to. Being in an actual bed helped, but I didn’t want to succumb. I breathed in “Aubrey Angel-ness” and thought about her elbows, too. Though I couldn’t see her’s because when I first walked in she was hunched over, fetal-position, under only a sheet and had pulled up the comforter to her chin.

It’s so precious when you do this and your child just melts into warmth – like her muscles were held rigid from the cold before and now can relax.

I thought of the huge burden I put on her last night. She came to my bed to say a last goodnight and I asked her to look out for her brother while I was gone. That he was really going to miss me, and she interjected,

“I am too,” and looked sad.

“I know, but he’s really taking it hard. Please just try to understand that when he’s bugging you and not leaving you alone and just doing little brother things, that he’s really just sad and scared and lonely.

“You don’t have to do anything about it. I’m not asking you to change it or fix it. Just know that that’s what’s happening for him inside and try not to be so angry with him. And be more patient with him. OK?”

She nodded and hugged me. And now I felt like an ass for having dumped something so huge on her. Like a father going off to war and telling his ten year old son, “You’re the man of the house now. Look after your mother for me.”

God, what pressure! And responsibility that is so clearly not their’s to take!

I’m sorry, Aubrey. I felt like crying. Familiar pressure in my head, a holding of my breath and a squeeze in my lungs. Sorry for asking too much.

I slid out of bed, kissed her hair and whispered, “I love you.”

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Morning Moment

Before my yoga class this morning, I started up the stairs to wake my children before I left. Paul prefers having them more awake when he gets them up. :) But not more than four steps up I stopped. I wanted to take their pictures while they slept. I hadn't done that since they were infants, save once on a road trip when all three kids were sleping in the van with their mouths open.

I doubled back to grab the camera and tiptoed across the tan shag carpet to Joey's bed. I fixed the frame on him and clicked. Blurry. I tried again. Nice and clear but off center. I tried a couple more times and by the time I'd clicked about five or six, Joey moves for the first time.
"Maawwm!" he says with his eyes closed. "I said I didn't want my picture taken while I'm sleeping!" His eyes are still closed.
I turn off the camera and clamber on the soft bed. "Oh. I'm sorry. I thought you said you wanted me to." I tucked the covers around him more and snuggle-kissed his cheek and head and forehead. He smiles and giggles. His eyes flutter open, one delayed with morning stickiness.

"I said if I was half on the bed and half off."

We'd had a conversation the day before about this very thing because yesterdays morning wake up showed their special warm snuggliness peeping out from above the tangled covers. And oh how I wanted a picture then. I remembered a previous wake up when my son re-situated himself under the warmth after having put on his clean shirt.

"I love blankets, Mom," he sighed.

Today I touch his wild hair and the dog flops down on Joey's feet. On the bed. She is hard to scold because she is love and part of our pack. Joey also loves her in his bed because he is lonely at night. At seven years old, I consider buying a king size bed so we can institute the family bed. Even at this late age.

In Aubrey's room I change her soothing sleep CD to a quasi-rock band she likes and I snap a picture. No movement. I get closer and center the shot right on her beautiful angelic face. Angel Baby. At nine. I snap again.
Dead pan. "I was a wake after the first one." She rolls over and stretches at the ceiling. "The flash woke me," she yawned.

And so my morning starts. I love my children. They are inspiring reincarnations of souls I've loved over and over. What bliss. I breathe in gratitude.